Leaked personal data in cyber-attack on German politicians

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Hackers have published large amounts of data and documents from hundreds of German politicians on the Internet. According to public broadcaster rbb, private chats and credit card information were also available.

It is still unclear who is responsible for the hack and with what intention the data was distributed. With the exception of the AfD, all parties in the Bundestag are affected: CDU, CSU, SPD, Green Party, Linkspartei and the FDP.

The main focus was on contact data such as hundreds of mobile phone numbers and addresses of politicians from the Bundestag and partly also from state politics. But not only that: a significant amount of very personal data as well as internal party documents were leaked. A system for the selection of published data and information could not be identified. Rather, it seems as if everything that the hackers got their hands on was put on the Internet.

For example, letters of application for party conferences, internal party communication or lists of addresses and members. Some of the documents are several years old.

Apparently no politically explosive documents

In individual cases, however, very personal data was also published in large quantities. In several cases, for example, photocopied identity cards, but occasionally also letters, invoices or direct debit authorizations for direct debit procedures, as well as invitations. Even chats with family members or credit card information from the family circle can be found in the data records.

Politically explosive documents were not found during an initial review. Nevertheless, the damage is likely to be massive, simply because of the large amount of personal data published.

The links to the leaks were distributed via Twitter. However, they only attracted attention on Thursday evening. The curious thing is that the distribution took place before Christmas, on a kind of Advent calendar on a Twitter account. Since summer 2017 personal data of more or less prominent people have been published on the account again and again.

Unclear where data was tapped

Why no one took note of the leaks until Thursday night is a mystery. It is also puzzling where the data was actually extracted. At least the enormous range of stolen data and documents is striking, which makes it unlikely that they were captured in one place.

Who is responsible for this and with what motivation the data was published is still completely unclear. Late in the evening, the problem reached the parliamentary group leaders in the Bundestag, who have been busy assessing the damage since then.

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